Police and Crime Commissioner Kathryn Holloway has said a fall in hate crime in Bedfordshire is a “hugely welcome sign of tolerance” following the Brexit vote.
The figures bucks a trend of rising hate crime reported elsewhere in the country.
The Commissioner was discussing the latest figures on hate crimes reported to Bedfordshire Police across the county for the four months to the end of July.
In the period from April 1 2016 to July 28 2016, including the Brexit referendum and immediate aftermath, 232 incidents were reported to the Force, 3 less than the same period last year.
“There’s absolutely no room for complacency and it is true that the Force has noted a pattern for the past five years of increases in hate crime reporting in the Spring and Summer, which probably relates to people spending more time outdoors and drinking socially, but the trend here is definitely not indicating the sort of increase in racist comments which have been so widely reported by the national media,” said Mrs Holloway.
“As this evidence seems to buck the national trend it is something that every one of us in Bedfordshire can be proud of as it is a hugely welcome sign of tolerance and an indication that the vast majority of our diverse communities live harmoniously.
“It is also a tribute to the investment in community relations made each and every day by Bedfordshire Police’s Community Cohesion Team, led by Insp. Hob Hoque, which is a county-wide project, and by communities themselves,” she said.
Mrs Holloway also pointed to the work she and Bedfordshire Police are jointly delivering during public engagements to spread the word of a change in the law on April 1.
Police now have to record the faith of an individual reporting a hate crime to ensure that Islamophobia and other faith-related hate crimes do not occur under the radar.